Retailers have warned of challenging times ahead as the weak pound ramps up their import costs and consumer confidence is buffeted by a climate of economic uncertainty as the UK embarks on Brexit negotiations. The industry’s main trade group, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), took only limited solace from its monthly figures showing strong food sales giving a boost to retailers’ takings last month by making up for a drop in demand for clothing during September’s heatwave. Underscoring the volatile pattern of recent months, the latest snapshot of high street and online spending showed like-for-like sales were up 0.4% on the year in September, a turnaround from August’s 0.9% drop. Sales growth was capped by warm weather – including the hottest September day since 1911 – which dented appetite for several products, including autumn clothes, flu medicines and duvets. The small recovery in sales follows news that consumer confidence continued to recover last month, but the BRC said it was too soon to say June’s vote to leave the EU was not affecting household spending. “While this month’s sales figures may add to the impression that Brexit impacts have been brushed off, it is still too early to judge as… Read full this story
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